Monday, August 3, 2015

Daily Headlines: August 3, 2015

* Brazil: Jose Dirceu, the former chief of staff to then-President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, has become the latest political figure arrested over the Petrobras bribery and corruption scandal.

* Puerto Rico: Puerto Rico will most likely fall into default on its $72 billion pubic debt by the end of today if officials cannot make a $58 million payment to creditors.

* Cuba: Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton publicly proposed eliminating the decades-long U.S. trade embargo against Cuba though it remains to be seen if Congress will be amenable to her suggestion.

* Colombia: Representatives of Colombia’s FARC rebels proposed meeting with Pope Francis during the pontiff’s visit to Cuba next month.

YouTube Source – CCTV America (Video uploaded in April 2015).

Online Sources – Bloomberg, Financial Times, NDTV, Reuters

Friday, July 31, 2015

Daily Headlines: July 31, 2015

* El Salvador: Salvadoran authorities are doing too little to protect thousands of children under threat from gang violence according to “U.S.-based advocacy group” Refugees International.

* Mexico: A Mexican judge approved a request to extradite fugitive drug capo Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman to the U.S., while 80% of Mexicans in a recent poll doubted the official version of his July 11th escape from prison.

* Venezuela: Soldiers took over the warehouse complex of Venezuela’s largest food distributor, Empresas Polar, amid shortages of basic goods in grocery stores.

* Brazil: Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff announced nearly $600 million in extra education spending cuts amid government attempts to turn around a lagging economy.

YouTube Source – teleSUR English (“The transportation strike enforced by street gangs in San Salvador and surrounding areas continues and has become more violent, with a 7th bus driver killed (on July 29th).”)

Online Sources – Houston Chronicle, Reuters, Bloomberg

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Daily Headlines: July 30, 2015

* Mexico: At least 129 corpses in 60 graves have been found in Mexico since September 2014 though none belong to 43 missing Ayotzinapa students according to data from the attorney general’s office released on Monday.

* Latin America: The U.N.’s 2015 economic growth forecast for Latin America and the Caribbean was halved to 0.5%, which would be the lowest level in six years.

* Venezuela: President Nicolas Maduro called on the U.N. to mediate a border dispute with Guyana that the opposition claims is a distraction from Venezuela’s domestic problems.

* Chile: Twelve former Chilean soldiers were arrested and charged with burning to death two protesters marching against the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet in 1986.

YouTube Source – teleSUR English (“The 2011-2015 class of the Ayotzinapa Rural Teachers Training College graduated (on July 18th), with 43 fewer students than would have been the case had they not been forcibly disappeared 9 months ago, sparking a huge nationwide and international protest.”)

Online Sources – The Guardian, Reuters, Vice News

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Daily Headlines: July 29, 2015 (Updated)

* Peru: Peruvian authorities claimed to have rescued thirty-nine people including thirteen children held hostage by the Shining Path rebels.

* Puerto Rico: U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew ruled out a federal bailout for Puerto Rico’s massive debt and instead called on changing the law to allow the commonwealth to file for bankruptcy.

* Mexico: The roller coaster ride of Miguel “El Piojo” Herrera as head coach of Mexico’s men’s national soccer team came to a screeching halt after he allegedly struck a journalist.

* Cuba: Rep. Tom Emmer introduced a bill to end the decades-long U.S. trade embargo against Cuba though his proposal faces stiff opposition from fellow Republican legislators.

Update: U.S. presidential candidate Hillary Clinton will urge Congress to remove the embargo on Cuba this Friday in Miami.

YouTube Source – teleSUR English

Online Sources including Update – France24, Bloomberg,, Minneapolis Star Tribune, Politico

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Daily Headlines: July 28, 2015

* Colombia: Excavating began to find the corpses of an estimated 300 victims of armed conflict buried beneath a mass grave in Medellin, Colombia.

* Peru: The Peruvian government decreed that telecommunications firms can legally collect cell phone data including geolocation and store that information for up to three years.

* El Salvador: Bus drivers in El Salvador went on strike against rising gang violence on the same day that police found the bodies of five slain drivers.

* Brazil: In the latest sign of Brazil’s slumping economy, the national currency hit a twelve-year low yesterday and could continue to weaken.

YouTube Source – Al Jazeera English

Online Sources – Voice of America, Bloomberg, Colombia Reports, The Guardian

Monday, July 27, 2015

Daily Headlines: July 27, 2015

* Mexico: Is the July 11th prison escape of drug capo Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman a major embarrassment for Presient Enrique Peña Nieto and the Mexican justice system or much ado about nothing?

* U.S.: “I would like you to actually see me as a sign of hope for a third-world country, for Latin America, someone that you can really look up to, and feel comfortable enough to say, I’m proud of you,” declared an overjoyed Pedro Martinez during his induction speech into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

* Cuba: In the latest sign of the diplomatic rapprochement between the U.S. and Cuba, the State Department removed the island from a human trafficking blacklist.

* Latin America: The latest edition of the Pan American Games finished with Brazil, the country hosting next year’s Olympics, third in the total medal count and first between Latin American and Caribbean countries. 

YouTube Source – user ODN

Online Sources – AS/COA Online, InSight Crime,, Reuters, ESPN

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Daily Headlines: July 21, 2015

* El Salvador: Salvadoran deputy police chief Howard Cotto ruled out negotiating with street gangs despite a call for dialogue in order to reduce high rates of violence.

* Brazil: Three executives of Brazil's Camargo Correa construction became the first figures to receive prison sentences in relation to a major bribery and corruption scandal that has rocked the South American country.

* Puerto Rico: Could statehood serve as a viable solution to alleviate Puerto Rico’s $73 billion debt?

* Uruguay: Alcides Ghigga, the Uruguayan game-winning goal scorer in the World Cup upset over Brazil known as the Maracanazo, died on the 65th anniversary of that game.

YouTube Source – wochit Latin America (“The month of June saw 677 murders in El Salvador. That's more than in any other single month since the end of the country's civil war.”)

Online Sources – Rappler, Deutsche Welle, The New York Times, Fox News Latino

Monday, July 20, 2015

Daily Headlines: July 20, 2015

* Cuba: After fifty-four years the embassies of Cuba and the U.S. reopened in their respective countries and, hence, officially reestablished bilateral diplomatic relations.

* Colombia: On Colombian Independence Day the FARC commenced their latest unilateral ceasefire that could jump start troubled peace negotiations between the rebels and the government.

* U.S.: A report published last week found that immigration authorities did not properly document 93% of deported, unaccompanied migrant children from Canada and Mexico between 2009 and 2014.

* Brazil: Brazilian swimmer Thiago Pereira became the most decorated athlete in Pan American Games history after winning his 23rd medal in Toronto.

YouTube Source – Associated Press (“After fifty years of frosty relations the United States and Cuba restore full diplomatic relations Monday.”)

Online Sources – ABC News, The Guardian, Colombia Reports, Swimming World

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Daily Headlines: July 16, 2015

* Peru: A new U.N. report found that Peru’s 2014 coca harvest decreased by 14% to 67 square miles, which represents the lowest level since 1998.

* Latin America: Mexico City became the first Latin American city to regulate Uber, while Brazil's antitrust watchdog agency will advocate in favor of the controversial app-based ride sharing service.

* Cuba: Frank-Walter Steinmeier will become the first German foreign minister to visit Cuba in 25 years amid a push to improve bilateral political and economic ties.

* Brazil: UANL Tigres lost in first leg of their Copa Libertadores semifinal matchup against Brazilian club Internacional though Hugo Ayala tallied a valuable away goal for the Mexican side.

YouTube Source – teleSUR English

Online Sources – The Globe and Mail, Andina, Reuters, Deutsche Welle, ESPN FC

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Daily Headlines: July 15, 2015

* Argentina: Argentina’s River Plate gained a 2-0 advantage over Guarani of Paraguay in the first leg of the Copa Libertadores and, hence, took a solid step forward in its quest to win its first Libertadores crown since 1996.

* Venezuela: Authorities barred prominent opposition activist and ex-legislator María Corina Machado from public office in a move that could prevent her from running in this December’s local elections.

* Brazil: The offices of Fernando Collor de Mello, the Brazilian ex-president who resigned in 1992 amid a major corruption probe, were raided by investigators looking into the Petrobras kickback scandal.

* Mexico: The opening of Mexico’s oil industry after 77 years of control by PEMEX starts today with the auction of fourteen offshore blocks.

YouTube Source – FootballMania

Online Sources – SBS, Reuters, Deutsche Welle, Bloomberg

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Daily Headlines: July 14, 2015

* Brazil: A new UNICEF report found that the number of homicides of Brazilians under the age of 19 has doubled over the past 25 years to about 28 teens and children each day.

* Puerto Rico: Puerto Rican officials met with creditors in order to seek a restructuring plan for the commonwealth’s $72 billion debt and days before a $93 million bond payment is due.

* Mexico: Popular Mexican musician, actor and songwriter Joan Sebastian passed away on Monday at the age of 64 from cancer.

* Cuba: Could the improving diplomatic ties between Cuba and the U.S. soon lead to an end to the “wet-foot-dry-foot” policy for Cuban migrants?

YouTube Source – CCTV America (UNICEF have criticized a proposed constitutional amendment in Brazil to reduce the age of criminal responsibility from 18 to 16).

Online Sources – Latin American Herald Tribune, Bloomberg, The Latin Americanist, Billboard, Fox News Latino

Friday, July 10, 2015

Daily Headlines: July 10, 2015

* Mexico: Reporters Without Borders denounced increased violence against Mexican journalists while a reporter was robbed as he was filming a live television report in Mexico City.

* U.S.: Latinos may have became the largest ethnic majority in California but a recent report found them underrepresented in local and state government posts.

* Brazil: In the latest indicator of the weekend Brazilian economy, the unemployment rate in the last quarter grew by 0.7% to 8.1%.

* Venezuela: Venezuelan officials have banned the importation of rice from Guyana amid an escalating maritime border dispute between the neighboring states.

YouTube Source – CCTV America (Video uploaded in February 2015).

Online Sources – Reporters Without Borders, The Telegraph, Los Angeles Times, ABC News, Latin American Herald Tribune

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Daily Headlines: July 9, 2015

* Colombia: Colombia’s FARC rebels announced a month-long ceasefire starting on July 20th and that comes after weeks of increased violence by guerilla against civilian and the armed forces.

* Mexico: Officials in Mexico City proposed regulations against the same app-based Uber car service that has run into strong opposition from taxi drivers across Latin America.

* Cuba: The U.S. State Department denounced a recent Cuban crackdown on dissidents but emphasized that such actions will not slow down the push to normalize bilateral relations.

* Brazil: The Petrobras bribery scandal that has hurt Brazil’s economy and led to increased scrutiny against the government could deepen after investigators identified $17 billion in “suspicious financial activity.”

YouTube Source – CCTV America

Online Sources – ABC News, Australian Business Review, Reuters, euronews, teleSUR English

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Daily Headlines: July 8, 2015

* Ecuador: During his official visit to Ecuador, Pope Francis has called on dialogue to ease domestic political tensions, greater protection of the environment and more opportunities for the world’s youth.

* Guatemala: A medical report concluded believe that former strongman Efrain Rios Montt is mentally incapable of standing trial where he’s accused of genocide during his brief rule in the 1980s.

* Peru: Japanese researchers have found twenty-four new geoglyphs at the famed Nazca Plateau including some about 2400 years old.

* Mexico: Official at Pemex claimed that the state-run energy firm is importing 75,000 gallons of gasoline daily in order to combat shortages in several states.

YouTube Source – AFP

Online Sources – Yahoo News, BBC News, Platts, Japan Times

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Today’s Video: Snapshots of History

We’ll return on Wednesday with a look at several news stories in the Americas including the Pope’s visit to South America and the immigration debate on the isle of Hispaniola.

This week’s video will look at several award winning ad campaigns from Latin America, and tonight we start with a short film created for Leica Gallery Sao Paulo. FNazca S&S Brazil became the firs Brazilian ad agency in sixty-four years to win the top prize at the Cannes Lions festival. Their Grand Prix-winning video pays homage to the German optics firm but was filmed entirely in Uruguay.

“This is a nearly perfect piece of filmmaking,” said Cannes Film Lions jury head Tor Myhren. “The visual storytelling is unique and stunning. The writing is absolutely amazing. And importantly, it's a category that is challenged right now with cell phones and with photography becoming a little bit less sexy,” he added.

Please check out the “Leica 100” short film after the page break (slightly NSFW):

Daily Headlines: July 7, 2015

* Mexico: Will the use of unmanned aerial vehicles by farmers, security agents and amateur enthusiasts transform Mexico into the “drone capital of Latin America?”

* Chile: Five members of Chile’s Copa America-winning squad were named to the all-tournament team, while Argentina topped the latest FIFA world rankings despite finishing as Copa America runners-up.

* Colombia: An upcoming report to be published by a Colombian NGO found that about 140 candidates running for political office have ties to criminal groups including paramilitaries.

* Venezuela: President Nicolás Maduro recalled Venezuela’s ambassador to Guyana over a maritime border dispute that involves a recently located “significant oil discovery.”

YouTube Source – user Postandfly

Online Sources – InSight Crime, MercoPress, Fusion,, ESPN FC